An update for the West Virginia Annual Conference
Dear Members of the West Virginia Conference,
In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, I hope that you are well and are taking all the precautions you can to stay well and to keep others safe and healthy. To that end, I want to encourage you to examine the very limited agenda and action items for the specially called session of the Annual Conference on the afternoon of August 1, 2020. I have called this as a special session and specified the purpose of our special session to receive and take action on only those items that appear in the limited workbook agenda. We will not take up any other business. All other business will be postponed to our Annual Conference gathering in 2021 when we hope to be able to gather safely again in one geographical location.
The items in the limited agenda include several actions that must be taken annually. All agenda items attempt to maintain and honor decisions made and voted on by the entire body of the Conference in 2019. Because this special session will be held in a variety of locations that will be connected virtually, the ability to have discussions or debate across the various locations will not be possible, and asking questions of the presiding table will be very limited. There will not be any voting by Livestream, only at the physical gathering locations. However, we will be happy to receive any affirmations, concerns, or questions from those who plan to join through the Livestream.
Whether you plan to participate on-site or by Livestream, I invite you to review the reports with action items, which are separated from the other workbook reports, and submit any questions you may have through this form. We will seek to address questions in advance of the August 1st session through a “Frequently Asked Questions” document, to be posted soon on our website at wvumc.org/2020AC. We will also keep any comments, questions, affirmations or concerns to be shared with the appropriate committees for their work as they prepare for the 2021 Annual Conference session, and will include this feedback in a summary report of this 2020 Annual Conference session.
I am deeply concerned for the safety of all our conference members. Please, please examine the limited agenda of this session and the action items and prayerfully and carefully determine whether or not you will be present at physical meeting location or whether you will join by Livestream from home. If you do not feel comfortable, if you are not feeling well, if you are a person who is in a vulnerable category, if you have a job that requires you to be out constantly among people, I encourage you, for your health and safety and the health and safety of others, to join by Livestream and to feel good about so doing. We will revisit most, if not all, of the committee reports and actions on the limited special session agenda in 2021.
If you requested a reservation for on-site meeting space and based on this updated information have changed your mind in the interest of safety for yourself or others, please let us know today or as soon as possible by responding to: WVAC2020@wvumc.org or by calling 304-344-8331, ext. 45. Advance work is needed to prepare each site for safe distancing measures, so accurate reservation numbers are important for our planning. We will continue to monitor the most current guidelines from our state and local health departments and plan accordingly.
May we be open to the presence of God’s Spirit, who seeks and prays for us to develop and generate ways of living with God and one another that brings us closer to the image of Christ both individually and communally.
Sandra Steiner Ball
Resident Bishop, West Virginia Conference